Thailand junta to keep tight grip after transfer of power

Thailand junta to keep tight grip after transfer of power
Thailand’s military makes way for a new administration in coming weeks, but the generals will keep a tight grip on power by filling an interim cabinet and legislature with soldiers, military sources said on Wednesday.

The armed forces took power on May 22 in a bloodless coup following six months of street demonstrations that contributed to the ousting of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The junta has since purged officials linked to Yingluck and her brother, Thaksin, a former premier himself and widely seen as the power behind Yingluck’s government.

The commander who led the May 22 coup, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, will likely to become prime minister to head a cabinet of staunch loyalists, the sources said. That will ensure that he has direct control of sweeping reforms that the military wants the interim cabinet and legislature to enact.

The transition, mapped out in an interim constitution promulgated last week, retains the junta, or National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), and offers it immunity and broad powers to overrule the interim government and a 220-member National Legislative Assembly (NLA) that it will appoint.

‘He’s already been performing duties like a prime minister,’ an army source said of Prayuth, requesting anonymity because he was not allowed to speak about the issue to the media.

‘Being both prime minister and head of NCPO will make the transition before elections more effective and more accurately reflect the goals of the NCPO to reform the country.’


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